The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, is set to embark on an historic journey to the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean this month.
The trip is historic for the Asantehene because some 120 years ago, his great uncle Asantehene, Nana Agyeman Prempeh I, was exiled together with his parents and 50 other chiefs, queen mothers and servants by the British colonial authorities for 27 years to the Islands.
The invitation from the Government of Seychelles through its Ministry of Culture and Tourism will have Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as special guest of honour at the Carnaval International De Victoria, the biggest Creole festival attended by nationals of countries around the world.
The one week visit will have a delegation of 52, symbolising the number of persons exiled by the British. It will include senior chiefs, successors of some of the exiled chiefs, palace poets, royal drummers, horn blowers, historians and a few business executives which will in a state set durbar also show-case the best of Asante cultural heritage.
A journey full of emotions and the most sensitive memorial in nineteenth century Asante history, it saw four years after the king’s exile (from 1896), the out-break of the last Anglo-Asante war also known as the Yaa Asantewaa War of 1900. The visit will attract over a dozen international broadcasting organizations.
A release from the Manhyia Palace signed by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Kofi Badu, says the Asantehene will meet with the President of Seychelles.
There will be cultural protocol agreements between Kumasi and Victoria and final status discussion started by UNESCO and the Government of Seychelles on the plantation villa house that Prempeh I (whose exile story of 27 years is equivalent to Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment ) lived in.
The Asantehene and the delegation will also attend a memorial service at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church and meet with descendants of Prempeh I still living on the island.
The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, taking an opportunity of the visit and the week- long festival, will mount a strong promotional stand and advocacy platform to promote Ghana’s heritage. They will also have consultations with Seychelles’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Contemporary interest in Asante-Seychellois relations was rekindled when after his enstoolment as Asantehene, Osei Tutu II and the Manhyia Palace commissioned the writer and documentary film-maker, Mr. Ivor Agyeman-Duah to produce, Yaa Asantewaa : The Heroism of an African Queen with the Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC).
The late Professor Emeritus Albert Adu Boahen served as the production advisor. It was premiered at the US Embassy in Accra, The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London and adopted by the PANAFEST Foundation under the auspices of the African Union and also by the Government of The Netherlands to commemorate the tercentenary diplomatic relations- The Link:Ghana and the Black Soul of the Netherlands.
A sequel by the same writer and producer and the SBC,The Return of the King to Seychelles will be done after the visit.